The Alabama Department of Corrections is investigating the deaths of two inmates last month and say both may have been suicides.
Jamal O’Neal Jackson, 29, was found unresponsive in his cell at Holman Correctional Facility on May 15, and attempts to save his life were unsuccessful, ADOC spokeswoman Samantha Rose confirmed for APR in a message Wednesday. His death was the result of an apparent suicide, according to the statement.
Casey Murphree, 49, died on May 18 when he was also found unresponsive in his cell at Bullock Correctional Facility of an apparent suicide, Rose said.
Neither men were on suicide watch when they died, according to ADOC, and the exact caused of death for both are pending autopsies.
The two recent deaths join numerous others among the state’s prison population.
The Alabama Department of Corrections has historically struggled to control violence, drug use and suicides inside state prisons, prompting an investigation and report by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2019 that found systemic problems in the overcrowded, understaffed facilities.
Richard Jason Reed, 35, died May 2 at the Bullock County prison. No foul play was suspected and the exact cause of death was pending an autopsy, ADOC said at the time.
Alvin Daniels, 68, died on April 25 at the Limestone prison. ADOC also said no foul play was suspected in his death and his exact cause of death was also pending an autopsy.
Alabama’s prisons are the deadliest in the nation, according to the Montgomery-based legal advocacy group Equal Justice Initiative.
Alabama’s prison homicide rate is almost nine times the national average for state prisons, according to the report and U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics figures.
In 2019, there was a record 29 deaths in Alabama prisons due to homicide, suicide and drug overdose, according to the ACLU of Alabama.